World's Oldest Marathoner, 94, Leads Team of Seniors in Scotland
June 13, 2005 - Fauja Singh, a 94-year-young grandfather of 13, led a marathon relay team yesterday in the Edinburgh Marathon in Scotland, which was billed as the oldest ever marathon relay team. The five-man team named itself Sikhs in the City and had a combined age of 397 years.
Singh, the world's oldest marathoner, drew most of the attention in the field of more than 11,000 runners and was the official starter. There were 5,000 runners in the relay event. The youngest member of the Sikhs was Amrik Singh, 70, from Glasgow. The other members were Karnail Singh, 76, from Glasgow, Ajit Singh, a 74-year-old retired Larkhall maths teacher, and Gurbaksh Singh, 73, from Gravesend, in Kent.
But it was Fauja Singh who grabbed the limelight as he crossed the finish line, although the Sikhs finished 730th of the 912 teams. They completed the course in 4hr 16min 24sec. Singh is originally from the Punjab in India, but now lives in Ilford, Essex. Last year he was signed by Adidas for the 'Impossible is Nothing' advertising campaign and was featured in billboards across Europe.
Five years ago he took part in the Flora London Marathon at the age of 89 for the first time and has since completed it five times. In 2003 he set the marathon world record for over 90-year-olds, completing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 5 hours, 40 minutes. As well as completing the London and New York Marathons in 2004 he also returned to Toronto Waterfront to break the half marathon record for over 90-year olds.
"I am extremely honored to have been invited to start this year's Edinburgh Marathon", he said. "By running as the oldest ever marathon relay team I hope we will inspire young people to keep going and older people never to give up."
Fauja, the world's oldest marathoner, took up running at the age of 81, when he arrived in Britain from the family farm in the Punjab. "Before that, I jogged regularly, to get from place to place," he said. He said he talks with God when he runs. A vegetarian, Singh, joined forces in 2004 with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to caution Asians and others about the perils they face if they clog their arteries with meat. Geoff Sims, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Marathon said: "I hope Fauja and his team will inspire people of all ages and running abilities to get out and give it a go."
Information for this story from: The Scotsman
Photograph by Ian Rutherford of The Scotsman